Look up, not back God connects with discouraged people. Both Moses and Gideon, two Biblical “deliverers”, were not on any “Who’s Who” list when God intervened in their lives and gave them new jobs to do. Moses had found a new career in shepherding after a huge failure forty years earlier. That failure had redefined and redirected his life as isolated and worthless. And Gideon wouldn’t have been the most likely to succeed in his graduating class at Ophrah High. Much of his time was spent in hiding (see Judges 6). Moses’ and Gideon’s ages were different when God got their attention. Moses was about 80. Gideon was probably in his 20s. So age was not a factor. God has purpose for us no matter what our age. For Moses it was the “burning bush” experience that God used to reset his future (Exodus 3&4). God started the conversation with encouragement that He was with him. Moses was not convinced, or didn’t hear it, so he began to make excuses, or reasons in his own mind, why he was not a good choice for this new life assignment. But God answered each of his objections. How He answered is what’s interesting. Similarly, when God approached Gideon, first with the promise of His being with him, Gideon began to give reasons why he was an unlikely choice for his assignment. God’s answers to Gideon were like His answers to Moses. Here’s the key. Both Moses’ and Gideon’s objections looked only to themselves and their past as their defining reality. God’s answers did not try to explain their past or their present. God’s answers focused on God Himself and on the task at hand. That approach helps us escape “victim-mentality”. Focus on God Himself and on what He tells us to DO in His Word. We are not forgotten by God. There are still tasks for us to do. Be encour
JUNE 6, 1944 is a special day in our history. It is the day that tens of thousands of Americans, with their allies, stormed the beaches of Normandy France to drive Hitler back to his hole in Germany. Tens of thousands died that day, as just as many were wounded. It was the beginning of the end for the Nazis who had slaughtered and enslaved millions. A scant nine months later the Nazis surrendered and the war in Europe was over. The fuehrer and many of his cronies chose the cowards way out and took their own lives, more were hanged, and others imprisoned for the war crimes they committed against humanity. The light of those days 70 years ago is dimming as more of our heroes are passing away. If you are blessed to know a WWII Veteran, give them a salute and thank them for their lifetime of service. I say lifetime because no veteran of war, even those that escaped injury, are free of the horrors of those days. They are forever marred by the days lost in battle and memories of comrades who never came home.
TOP POP CONTEST CANCELED… I’m sorry to announce that due to a lack of interest and sponsors, our annual Top Pop Contest is cancelled. I wasn’t entirely surprised; the Top Pop Father’s Day contest was never as popular as the Best Mom for Mother’s Day. But it was a nice event for the local dads and their families. I don’t think it is any reflection of Mother being more popular than Father. I think the Father’s Day observance comes at a busy, busy time of the year, with schools closing and graduations, the start of vacations and summer weather. For those that want to send a letter to the editor about their own Top Pop, please do. Email email@example.com or mail to Top Pop, PO Box 7, Watervliet, Michigan 49098.
LOST IN ST. LOUIS… Technology seemed to fail me a couple weeks back. We had gone for our granddaughter’s graduation. The graduation was at one church and the open house at another. It was a great day; we were so proud of Lainie and her fellow graduates. All 66 were homeschooled; all had college and career plans. It was impressive and exciting. I learned many years ago to trust global positioning satellite navigation. I had just put a GPS on my boat on a lake that was 1-2 miles wide and six miles long. My target was about four miles away and half way there I ran into a fog bank. The sunny early morning soon went dark at least as far as my dead reckoning went. I glued my eyes to the GPS screen… the compass and the tracking both indicated I was dead on the coordinates I had entered the day before. But with the fog and the deafening silence it brought with it, I would have bet breakfast I was going the wrong way. To prove it to myself, I shut down the GPS and continued moving slowly in the direction I knew was right. After five minutes or so, I turned the GPS back on and saw the boat track on the screen was a wide spread trail of turns, loops and circles. Not to be fooled just once, I tried the experiment again. While the boat was tracking a straight line on the screen, I shut off the unit and continued on. Within a few minutes I turned the GPS back on and there was the proof… I was no longer on a heading N-NW, but was nearly going in the opposite direction. I turned the GPS unit back on and have used it faithfully and consistently since that morning 22 years ago. What about St. Louis? You might ask. GPS has filled the horizon with gadgets to keep one from getting lost in the fog, woods, and your own back yard. Even on super highways, with on-off ramps, signs, warnings and mileage, the GPS beats them all, or at least ties it. Except for a shortcut through the woods near Manistique, that is, where a road was long abandoned. It still shows up on a GPS even though there’s a pile of gravel and a big stump blocking the entrance. I wasn’t concerned about missing roads in St. Louis. I had entered address locations for the two churches, and our hotel room. Without a hitch I found the church for the graduation. Later on, I found the other church without a problem. Much later, when it was time to head back to the hotel, I declined a nephew’s offer, “follow me Uncle Karl”. Confident that I was unencumbered by any alcohol or darkness, my passengers and I headed out. I turned on the GPS, picked the address of the hotel and we were on our way. I could see my nephew’s car taillights, and chuckled a bit when he took a left off ramp and I took the right. My GPS had just directed, “take the next ramp to the right and turn left at the first light.” I felt, more than heard Anne’s disdain when I answered “Yes dear”. “That’s not funny,” she said. About then we passed signage for the airport, which was near where we were staying. When we passed the airport off ramp, I turned off at the next. The GPS began advising me to turn back to the shown route. I drove back far enough that even I could see my trusty GPS had abandoned me to plight of the benighted souls who lost their AAA map and were forever condemned to asking for directions at gas stations. Last time I asked for directions was going through Chicago on a Sunday afternoon. Actually, needing directions was more a ruse to find some candy to settle the kids down in the back seat. When my trusted co-pilot (my brother-in-law) noted that we had passed the same Boeing plant twice, we both saw the church we had attended that morning. I crossed a couple lanes of traffic with drivers that knew where they were going, exited the freeway, and went wrong way through a parking lot to stop alongside the church building. I even recognized the sign at the head of where we parked… it read “first time visitors”. Before I could pull the wires out of the GPS, I scrolled back to the addresses I had entered… the one highlighted was for the church we were at. Not the hotel I was headed for and the GPS kept turning me around. I suppose you can still trust in the GPS to find your destination; that doesn’t mean it can guess where you want to be when you push the wrong button.
Beware of people pretending to be from Social Security Social Security is committed to protecting your personal information. We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number (SSN) or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or internet. If you receive a call and aren’t expecting one, you must be extra careful. You can always get the caller’s information, hang up, and — if you do need more clarification — contact the official phone number of the business or agency that the caller claims to represent. Never reveal personal data to a stranger who called you. There’s a scam going around right now. You might receive a call from someone claiming to be from Social Security or another agency. Calls can even display 1-800-772-1213, Social Security’s national customer service number, as the incoming number on your caller ID. In some cases, the caller states that Social Security does not have all of your personal information, such as your SSN, on file. Other callers claim Social Security needs additional information so the agency can increase your benefit payment, or that Social Security will terminate your benefits if they do not confirm your information. This appears to be a widespread issue, as reports have come from people across the country. These calls are not from Social Security. Callers sometimes state that your SSN is at risk of being deactivated or deleted. The caller then asks you to call a phone number to resolve the issue. People should be aware that the scheme’s details may vary; however, you should avoid engaging with the caller or calling the number provided, as the caller might attempt to acquire personal information. Social Security employees occasionally contact people by telephone for customer-service purposes. In only a very few special situations, such as when you have business pending with us, will a Social Security employee request that the person confirm personal information over the phone. Social Security employees will never threaten you or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up. If you receive these calls, please report the information to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov/report. Protecting your information is an important part of Social Security’s mission. You work hard and make a conscious effort to save and plan for retirement. Scammers try to stay a step ahead of us, but with an informed public and your help, we can stop these criminals before they cause serious financial damage. Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
75 years ago today! Dear Editor, Coloma WWII military hero Private Stanley Suwarsky was the first U.S. soldier killed at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He was a “Pathfinder” who parachuted behind German lines a little after midnight. His parachute was caught in a tree, and he was shot and killed while still in his harness. Over 2,000 U.S. soldiers were killed on D-Day! Stanley Suwarsky graduated from Coloma High School in 1934 and received the “Green and Gold Award” for outstanding student in his senior class. He grew up on a farm on Boyer Road and attended Boyer School thru 8th grade. Don Oderkirk U.S. Naval Reserve Retired
Lack of attendance is disheartening Dear Editor, On Monday, we as a nation celebrated Memorial Day. This is a National Holiday at which we citizens remember our veterans and thank them for their service to our country. Their dedication allows us a way of life that many other nations wish to emulate. I had the privilege of attending two Memorial Day observances. First I wish to express my thanks to the American Legions and those veterans that participated in those moving services. I am so proud of those individuals. Unfortunately, I was disheartened and appalled by the lack of attendance at these events. I believe it is a truly sad reflection on the state of our nation’s patriotism, when these events garner so little attention and appreciation. I hope I am wrong. Time will tell. Respectfully, Candace Evett – Benton Harbor
Support of Poppy Days appreciated by Legion Auxiliary Dear Editor, The Coloma American Legion Auxiliary Unit 362 would like to thank all the Legion family members who helped us with our Poppy Days over Memorial Day weekend. Also a BIG thanks goes to all the wonderful people who felt in their hearts to make a donation to us. All (100 %) of the money collected through poppies will go towards any veterans and their families who are in need. The Legion and its family are here to help any veteran, if possible. All they have to do is come in and talk to someone. Carol Parks, Secretary Unit 362 American Legion Auxiliary
Van Buren household recycling collection coming June 15 On Saturday, June 15, 2019, the Van Buren Conservation District, with the support of Van Buren County and several Van Buren municipalities, will host the largest household recycling collection to date! The event is FREE to all Van Buren residents and landowners; all you need to bring is an ID or municipal document showing you’re a resident or landowner to access the services for free. What will be accepted at the collection? Household Hazardous Waste – kitchen/bathroom cleaners, batteries, light bulbs, anti-freeze, solvents, acids, bases, aerosol cans (not empty), mercury, and more. Will not accept motor oil, ammunition, explosives, asbestos, or radioactive materials. Paint – latex paint, oil-based paint, aerosol paint cans. Lawn/Garden Chemicals – small amounts of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Large amounts (farm or commercial use) can be disposed of for free at Clean Sweep Program collections. Large amounts of ‘-icides’ will not be accepted at this collection. Call the office for more information about Clean Sweep events. Passenger Tires – up to 10 passengers tires will be accepted per household because space is limited. All tires must be RSVP’d by June 14 in order to ensure space is available. Tires not RSVP’d will not be accepted. Large Tires – in a special collection this year, large truck, all tractor, and other large tires will be accepted. All tires must be RSVP’d by June 14 in order to ensure space is available. First 10 tires are free, tires 11-20 are $5 each, and tires 21+ are $10 each. Tires not RSVP’d will not be accepted. Confidential Documents – will be shredded on-site and recycled off-site. Other Materials – sharps, American flags, hearing aids, eye glasses, walking canes When is the collection? Where is it? Saturday, June 15, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Van Buren Community Mental Health Building, 801 Hazen Street in Paw Paw. For more information, visit www.VanBurenCD.org/programs-services/recycling/. Call the Van Buren Conservation District office (269-657-4030 x5) to RSVP tires and to ask any questions.
Student loan repayment gives incentive for medical providers to offer opioid use treatment Medical providers who begin providing or expand opioid addiction treatment are now eligible for student loan repayment through a new Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) program. The goal of the program is to increase availability of opioid use disorder treatment across the state, especially in areas where treatment is difficult to access. MDHHS received a $500,000 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to implement the Michigan Opioid Treatment Access Loan Repayment Program to repay medical education loans. “Michigan needs more health care providers that will treat patients suffering from opioid use disorders,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “This program provides critical educational debt repayments to incentivize providers to treat patients with substance use disorders in communities across the state. This will help strengthen our capacity to respond to this growing epidemic.” The program is available to medical doctors and osteopathic medicine doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and substance use disorder counselors who begin offering opioid treatment or expand treatment that is already being offered. Providers who work in a variety of health care settings are eligible to apply. Applications can be filed through June 30, 2019. Applications and other resources can be found on the Michigan Opioid Treatment Assistance website. Health care providers are encouraged to review the materials and submit applications when the cycle begins. They can contact Megan Linton at 517-335-6713 for more information. Michigan has been significantly affected by the national opioid epidemic. The number of annual opioid-related overdose deaths in the state has more than tripled since 2011, from 622 to 2,053. As part of the state-government-wide plan to address the issue, MDHHS has developed an action plan that is focused on prevention, early intervention and treatment. Find more information at www.michi